Why I Write —Jan Vantoortelboom

It all started with the death of a mother. I was sixteen and hanging around, waking up and going to sleep in a dark house. The will to become someone or something had abandoned me and the very question of existential meaning was shoved down my throat the hard way. But I didn’t write back then. I read. And read. So I could breathe and forget. Only eighteen years later I picked up writing. Boy, did I like it. With one single act, the act of writing, I became someone and something and the question of the meaning of my existence got answered. I was named a writer at the age of thirty-six, but I became one the day my mother died.


—Jan Vantoortelboom